Preparing for Cyclocross Season

Want to see major gains next season? It's time to get down and dirty with cyclocross!

Cyclocross is a tremendous way for bike riders to stretch their competitive seasons and get a good jump-start on fitness for the following season. The intensity of cyclocross racing provides a workout that’s very difficult to replicate – even with standard interval training.  During the fall and winter, the temperature drop means that most athletes turn primarily to indoor trainers, and for many the self-motivation to push to the limit becomes a constant issue.
If you’ve come to the end of a long racing season - be it road riding, mountain biking or triathlon - it’s wise to take a break of at least a couple of weeks before commencing your cyclocross training/racing. During this time, look to back off the intensity and consider eliminating structured workouts altogether. Just get on your bike and ride at a recovery pace and you’ll feel a lot fresher when the couple of weeks are up.
However, don’t let this recovery period go much beyond two weeks. You don’t want to lose too much of the high-end fitness you’ve developed through the prior bike season.
Here are a few ways to prepare for the cyclocross season.
1. Specific cyclocross practice: Due to being so technique-reliant, it’s absolutely essential that you get on your cross bike for a skills practice or training race once per week. There are many skills to focus on, such as dismounting and mounting quickly without losing too much momentum, and running and jumping obstacles with the bike.
2. Power intervals: It’s important to include race-pace interval workouts in your training program. For example, ride for about 45 seconds to the base of a short, steep hill or staircase then dismount, shoulder the bike, and sprint up the hill or staircase. Remount the bike and accelerate back to race pace in about 10-15 pedal strokes. After each interval, spin easy back to your starting point and start the next interval. Aim to complete 4-8 of these intervals in a continuous set.
3. Get in long miles early:  It’s inevitable that the weather will get worse and your training will become more race specific (with shorter workouts at higher intensities), so for that reason, while the weather is still warm enough, bank some long endurance rides. When it’s colder and darker, you won’t have as many opportunities - and less motivation - to ride for 3+ hours, so get in long miles early in the cyclocross season.
Do some research and find out about your local cyclocross series. If you want to see significant performance gains next season, it’s crucial that you don’t let the improvements you made this year slip away due to inactivity or a lack of focus. Besides, getting dirty in cyclocross is super fun and you’ll definitely meet some cool, like-minded people in the process.

By: Kerry Hale


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Best Cycling Gear for Spring

As chosen by Bicycle Sports Pacific in Vancouver

We recently hit up our friend Dave de Jonge, Assistant Manager at Bicycle Sports Pacific in Vancouver for his picks for the best new cycling gear for spring.    MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) helmets. MIPS has been one of the most important advances in increasing the protection of helmets by reducing rotational acceleration on the brain caused by angled impacts to the head. We like the Bontrager Solstice MIPS at $84.99 to the innovative Bell Super 3R with a removable jaw guard at $324.99.   Fabric Cageless Bottle Systems. Fabric introduced these last year and they proved to be an excellent way to fit bottles on bikes with limited space and create a cleaner looking (and lighter) bike. This year they expanded the line to include a larger 750ml bottle and a "tool/cargo" bottle.   Daytime Running Lights. Trek/ Bontrager commissioned a study with researchers at Clemson University on what makes cyclists stand out to drivers and used that information to develop flashing sequences on their Ion and Flare series of lights (and apparel).   Virtual training and smart indoor trainers are starting to take off. You can now ride legendary stages of the Tour de France with automatic resistance adjustment or race your friends on screen, from home, when you're unable to make it outside. We like CycleOps, Kinetic and Wahoo Smart trainers.   Ryders Eyewear already has the most critically acclaimed anti-fog eyewear on the market and for 2017 they are introducing the FYRE lens, which incorporates the five most innovative advancements in sports optics (NXT lens, antiFOG, Varia photochromic, Colour Boost and MLV mirror) into one lens.   Bicycle touring is on the rise again. With more and more people starting to bicycle commute, many are also deciding to go bicycle touring. We have dedicated touring bikes, light and fast touring bikes to rugged off-road touring bikes. Trek covers everything with their range ($1399.99 and up) and Cannondale has re-introduced their touring series – shown - ($2099.99 and up). We also stock the racks and bags to compliment, as well bikepacking bags from Apidura. Bicycle Sports Pacific has been serving the Vancouver area for over 28 years. Now with three of the largest bicycle stores in Canada, it has been owned and operated by the same owner since 1989. BSP caters to all types of cyclists, from beginner to expert, for all types of riding from commuting, to road racing and trail riding. BSP is the largest Cannondale dealer in Canada and as well as one of the top Trek dealers in North America.